Back home again in sunny Switzerland and recalling a Florida vacation with a difference.
Once I had lost my fear of losing my fingers last year, I began to covet one of the gadgets found in most American homes: that little device in the sink that gobbles and munches all the bits of waste from coffee dregs to vegetable peelings. But now, no longer! I never want to see one again! Here’s why:
The waste disposal unit in my friend’s home where we were staying had rusted through and was leaking without anyone noticing, and by the time we realised it the damage was done. An entire row of cabinets had to be replaced. One thing leads to another, of course.
In order to disassemble the cabinets, the 9-foot long granite counter top needed to be removed. Not only that, but it proved impossible to match the cabinets so all of the others also had to be replaced, top and bottom, on both sides of the kitchen, together with their counter top. The fridge then began to misbehave and as if in solidarity the dishwasher also gave up the ghost. And to cap it all, we were warned there might also be mould.
My friend really didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. She hadn’t budgeted for a new kitchen yet it was a great opportunity to replace the ugly old one. However, would it be possible to get everything done in the few weeks we were there? What would the insurance cover? Stuck on our island without a car, how could we get to places like Home Depot to look at what was available? Were second-hand items feasible?
Hours were spent poring over offers on the Internet, and there were lots of phone calls, appointments with contractors, insurance people, plumbers, electricians, mould experts … promises, promises. It was a roller-coaster ride but to cut a very long and complicated story short, it happened. Schedules were very tight, delays occurred, and it took right to the last minute, but then came the really good news a couple of hours before we left that the insurance company would actually cover most of the expense.
If that isn’t divine providence, I don’t know what is. And throughout, my friend managed to carry on producing delicious meals without a counter or cupboards!
In spite of all that, we had a very pleasant time swimming and cycling (back on my trusty trike!) every morning, socialising, sunbathing, reading, painting, crocheting, solving sudokus, watching the wildlife (the dolphins were back this year) and generally enjoying ourselves. Certainly no question of being bored.
And, as a neat little postscript to this story, my neighbour back here in Switzerland has just called to invite me to inspect the results of some work she had done during my absence.
“A good thing you weren’t here,” she said. “There was a lot of noise and disruption while they were installing it.” I admired her attractive, modern new kitchen and told her about our Florida fun.
There’s a moral in here for me somewhere: it seems that whether I had stayed here or gone to Sanibel, I’d have had the kitchen experience!